Oscar Pistorius was released from prison on parole this morning, nearly 11 years after murdering his former girlfriend.
The South African Paralympian, dubbed the Blade Runner for his carbon-fibre prosthetic legs, was found guilty of killing Reeva Steenkamp after shooting her through a bathroom door at his home in Pretoria in February 2013. Pistorius has always maintained his innocence, claiming it was an accident as he thought she was an intruder.
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He was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2016 after an initial sentence of six years was overturned for being “shockingly too lenient” but, having served half his term, he is now eligible for parole and was granted his freedom this morning.
The parole comes with strict conditions. He is unable to drink alcohol and cannot speak to the media until the sentence comes to an end in 2029.
The parole board also demanded Pistorius undergo an anger management course and programmes on gender-based violence as part of his release agreement.
Ms Steenkamp’s mother June accepted the decision, but said in a statement: “Has there been justice for Reeva? Has Oscar served enough time? There can never be justice if your loved one is never coming back, and no amount of time served will bring Reeva back. We, who remain behind, are the ones serving a life sentence.”
She added: “My only desire is that I will be allowed to live my last years in peace with my focus remaining on the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation, to continue Reeva’s legacy.”
The case attracted worldwide attention due to Pistorius’ pin-up image in his native country, his achievements on the track that gave the Paralympics a greater global appeal and his ability to overcome adversity.
The 37-year-old had both legs amputated below the knee at 11 months old due to a congenital defect.
That didn’t prevent him from competing in the Paralympics as well as the 2012 London Olympics – the first double amputee to take part in the able-bodied version of the Games.